TILTON — A fourth-inning line-drive home run by Hayden Cargo proved to be the final and exact distance Rantoul needed to survive.
The Post 287 baseball team of the American Legion, needing a win over Cumberland County to stay alive in the Fourth Division District Tournament and keep its season going, surged ahead to a 5-0 lead on Sunday behind an RBI single by Colin Klein, a three-run double by Adam Crites and a run-scoring sacrifice bunt by Chad Vermillion.
Then, in the fourth, Cargo sent a solo shot over the left field fence for a 6-1 lead, and Rantoul had to survive a four-run rally by Cumberland, including three runs scored in the fifth frame, for a 6-5 victory.
The win, which preceded a 3-2 win over Moultrie-Douglas on Friday and a 7-0 loss to Danville Gold on Saturday in the double-elimination tournament, allowed Post 287 to advance to play Charleston. Results were not available at press time. With a win, Rantoul advances to play an opponent to be determined, but with a loss, its season will be over.
Rantoul (12-13) received two hits apiece from Cargo, Klein and Crites, and Vermillion pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout on 107 pitches. Layne Harden picked up a save on a punchout with runners on first and second.
In the 3-2 victory over Mo-Do, Luke Jones’ sacrifice fly broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth to plate Jake Welbes for the eventual game-winning run.
Cargo scored on an error in the third, and Jones belted an RBI single to score Welbes for a 2-1 lead before a solo home run by Cale Sementi in the fourth tied the game.
Crites pitched a gem, tossing a complete game with two earned runs and five hits allowed with 10 strikeouts and two walks on 104 pitches.
Contact Zack Carpenter at email@example.com and on Twitter @ZackCarpenter11.